A merger can be a major turning point for a company, providing an opportunity to gain additional revenue streams and break into new markets. The successful combinations of large companies like Disney and Pixar have attracted mass media attention, with mergers and acquisitions (M&A) on the rise since 2010. However, other major mergers like Mercedes-Benz and Chrysler have infamously crashed, ultimately leading to corporate divorce.

Whether a hostile takeover or a schemes of arrangement, the M&A environment in Australia is subject to intense scrutiny by regulators and investors alike. To ensure your business doesn’t get the short end of the bargain and successfully achieves its commercial targets, strategic and legal advice is paramount.

Find a mergers and acquisitions lawyer through LawPath’s integrated search tool to ensure your options are open and targeted.

Here are 5 questions to ask when hiring a mergers and acquisitions lawyer:

1. Is my company ready for a merger?

If you are selling your company, potential buyers will be scrutinising every aspect of your company. There may be an array of technical legal matters that could affect your business’ operations and procedures. Ask the M&A lawyer if they would be able to do a ‘legal checkup’ beforehand. An experienced lawyer would be able to notice missed opportunities as well as areas of concern in your business.

2. What type of companies have you worked with?

Mergers and acquisitions are incredibly common, so there is no reason the lawyer would not have a multitude of experience. However, depending on the size and type of company, certain aspects of the merger may pose greater significance. As such, the M&A lawyer should have specific experience in the process and type of business being merged to be able to provide relevant strategic legal advice. For example, if you are in the insurance or oil and gas business, any mergers involved in these industries are tightly restricted, so your lawyer should have had experience in that industry specifically. Regulators keep a close eye to ensure anti-monopoly laws are not being violated so the lawyer should be very knowledgeable in this complex area of law.

An advantage to your business is if the M&A lawyer is experienced with tax laws and accounting systems as well. This could ensure that the lawyer considers all aspects of the deal and doesn’t leave anything out.

3. What are the legal costs involved?

Legal costs can often be unpredictable and expensive. One of the methods that lawyers charge is by the hour. Depending on how complex your case is, the costs involved could vary extremely. Asking for an approximation regarding the bill can be helpful, but in many instances can be quite unreliable.

Another method of billing is the flat fee. Here, after the lawyer considers your case, they can offer a fixed price that covers all the expenses.

By providing fixed price quotes in our Lawyer Directory, LawPath ensures that you are always aware of the costs so you can make the best decision for your company.

4. How is the team structured?

In larger law firms, a lawyer will often have a team of staff members working together on a particular case. Something to be attentive of is to make sure that the partners proposed to handle your case will be actually be in charge. Although delegating minor issues to junior staff members is standard, it is important that the head lawyer is ultimately in charge.

The level of experience is key to successful mergers, so make that not only the senior lawyer is experienced but also his/her team is well-versed in this area.

5. Can other issues be dealt with in house?

For the client’s convenience, many law firms that offer M&A lawyers also have a team of taxes and IP lawyers as mergers are inevitably tied with these other areas of law. Having the same firm manage additional legal issues that come hand in hand gives you the benefit of having professionals already aware of your situation. It could be useful to ask this question if you wish to prioritise convenience.

Conclusion:

Having a lawyer who is well versed in mergers and acquisitions will be essential to provide key legal advice as well inform the client of regulatory boundaries. LawPath offers a lawyer directory that allows you to find the right mergers and acquisitions lawyer to achieve your commercial targets.

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Diana Liu

Diana is a Legal Intern at LawPath working with the content team. With an interest in torts law and commercial law, she is currently completing a Bachelor of Laws as well as a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).